Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 107 January Term, 1974, Non-Support. No. 2110 October Term, 1976.
Jack A. Rounick, Norristown, for appellant.
Edward Rubin, Lansdale, for appellee.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Price, J., dissents.
[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 505]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in vacating a child support order and in remitting arrearages that had accrued under the order. The lower court concluded that the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Article IV, § 1, of the United States Constitution, mandated its action because a Florida court had awarded child support as part of a divorce proceeding in which appellant participated. We hold that full faith and credit did not require the lower court to vacate its order and to remit arrearages, and we remand for reconsideration consistent with our opinion.
On January 21, 1974, appellant filed an action for support in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County against appellee. At that time, the parties were married and lived in Pennsylvania. On February 7, 1974, the court entered a stipulated support order which provided that appellee would pay appellant $350 per week for the support of appellant and the couple's two minor children. The order also provided that it would be modified automatically on January 10, 1975, to require appellee to pay $400 per week for the support of his two children.
Subsequently, appellee moved to Florida. After he established residency, he instituted divorce proceedings in the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial District of Florida in Sarasota County. In his petition, appellee requested that the Florida court incorporate the support order of the Pennsylvania court within its final decree. Appellant filed an answer and a counter-petition which requested the Florida court to grant her custody of the children and to "adjudicate all questions between the parties relating to the ownership of real and personal
[ 246 Pa. Super. Page 506]
property and their respective debts and obligations to each other and third persons." At a hearing, appellant testified that the expense of caring for the two children had increased since the entry of the Pennsylvania support order.
On December 19, 1974, the Florida court entered an order dissolving the marriage. The court awarded appellant custody of the two children and directed appellee to pay appellant $200 per week as child support and $175 per week as alimony.*fn1 The court expressly retained jurisdiction of the action and the parties involved for the purpose of enforcing or modifying its judgment, except insofar as it dissolved the marriage. On October 17, 1975, the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, affirmed the judgment of the lower Florida court in all respects.
On January 14, 1976, appellee filed a petition to vacate the Pennsylvania support order in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. Appellee also requested that the court remit all arrearages accruing under that order after December 19, 1974. The lower court found that appellee had fully complied with the requirements of the Florida support order. On June 9, 1976, the lower court ...